Prison investigates inmate homicide

High Desert State Prison officials are investigating the death of an inmate as a homicide after he was attacked by two other inmates.

At approximately 2:54 p.m. Nov. 27, staff saw inmates Roger Vasquez and Douglas Leon attack inmate Edgardo Herrera between general population yards on Facility D. Officers immediately responded and all inmates on the yard were ordered to get down. When Vasquez and Leon ignored the command, officers used chemical agents to quell the incident.

Responding staff summoned an ambulance for Herrera, provided life-saving measures. Herrera was taken to an outside area hospital where he was pronounced dead at 4:28 p.m.

Officers recovered two inmate-manufactured weapons at the scene. No staff members were injured in the altercation.

Vasquez and Leon have been placed in segregated housing pending an investigation into their involvement. Movement on Facility D has been limited to facilitate the investigation.

The Lassen County District Attorney’s Office is assisting HDSP’s Investigative Services Unit. The Office of the Inspector General has been notified.

Herrera, the victim, was received by CDCR on Sept. 15, 2011 from Los Angeles County to serve a 30-year sentence for second-degree robbery as a second striker with enhancements for street gang act in commission of a violent felony, use of a firearm, as well as having a prior felony conviction of serious offense. In September 2016, Herrera received a four-year sentence from Kern County for possession of a controlled substance in prison as a second striker.

Vasquez was received on May 25, 2011 from Los Angeles County to serve a 12-year sentence for second-degree robbery with a 10-year enhancement for use of a firearm. On April 3, 2014 Vasquez received a two-year sentence from Riverside County for possession of a controlled substance while in prison. On July 9, 2015, Vasquez received a two-year sentence from Riverside County for battery on a non-prisoner, an in-prison offense. On March 15, 2019 Vasquez received an eight-year sentence from Lassen County for assault by prisoner with deadly weapon or force likely to cause great bodily injury and possession/manufacture of a deadly weapon by a prisoner.

Leon was received by CDCR on April 15, 2011 to serve a life with parole sentence from Los Angeles County for first-degree murder with intentional discharge of a firearm causing great bodily injury/death and attempting to threat or extort money or property with the use of a firearm with an enhancement for street gang act in commission of a serious felony. On April 14, 2016 Leon received a three-year sentence from Lassen County for possession/manufacture of a deadly weapon by a prisoner.

High Desert State Prison, located in Lassen County, opened in 1995 and houses 3,466 minimum-, medium-, and maximum-custody inmates and employs more than 1,200 people.